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Blindness and Enlightenment: An Essay: With a New Translation of Diderot's 'Letter on the Blind' and La Mothe Le Vayer's 'Of a Man Born Blind' (Paperback)
  • Blindness and Enlightenment: An Essay: With a New Translation of Diderot's 'Letter on the Blind' and La Mothe Le Vayer's 'Of a Man Born Blind' (Paperback)

Blindness and Enlightenment: An Essay: With a New Translation of Diderot's 'Letter on the Blind' and La Mothe Le Vayer's 'Of a Man Born Blind' (Paperback)

Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 20/10/2011
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This is a new reading and translation, the first into English since the eighteenth-century, of Diderot's "Letter on the Blind for Use by the Sighted". "Blindness and Enlightenment" presents a reading and translation of Diderot's "Letter on the Blind for Use by the Sighted" (the first translation into English since the eighteenth-century). Diderot was the founder and editor of the "Encyclopedie", a novelist, a philosopher and an active proponent of democratic ideals. His "Letter on the Blind" is essential reading for anyone interested in Enlightenment philosophy or eighteenth-century literature. By discussing the blind, Diderot undercuts a central assumption of the Enlightenment, present in the very term itself in its reference to 'light', namely that moral and philosophical insight was dependent on seeing.

Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
ISBN: 9781441119322
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 18 mm

"Diderot's study of cognitive deprivation as a way of understanding cognition itself is one of the most innovative moves in a century of intellectual innovation. Kate Tunstall's brilliant new translation and edition, accompanied by a lucid, witty and incisive essay that initiates the reader admirably into the complex problems raised by the Letter, will be a major resource for anyone wishing to understand core issues in the Enlightenment." - Terence Cave, Emeritus Research Fellow, St John's College, University of Oxford, UK
"Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles is one of the strangest and most powerful texts of the Enlightenment, an apparently rambling and jokey discussion of an abstruse philosophical problem, which culminates in a disturbing vision of a godless universe. Kate Tunstall's highly original and beautifully-written analysis is an outstanding treatment of its complexities, ironies, and anomalies, offering a much enriched understanding of the context in which it was produced and of its complex relations with a host of philosophical and literary texts." Michael Moriarty, Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
"Kate Tunstall's precise new translations of Denis Diderot's Lettre sur les aveugles and Francois de La Mothe Le Vayer's 'D'un aveugle-ne' are most welcome resources for the Enlightenment scholar and teacher. Her introductory essay will prove to be even more useful, as it elegantly situates one of the most peculiar yet important of Diderot's early epistemological reflections in the complex of Enlightenment intellectual, theological and medical concepts that furnished its meaning and urgency for Diderot's contemporaries. Under Kate Tunstall's erudite treatment, the allusions, the ironies, the seeming confusion and the politically unsayable resolve into remarkable clarity. Just as importantly, Tunstall's own exposition is elegantly witty and delightfully playful, so we not only comprehend intellectually why this most disconcerting of Diderotian performances was scandalous. In her stylistic evocation of Diderot's voice, Kate Tunstall provides her modern audience with a readerly experience closer to that of Diderot's contemporaries so that we feel as a result something too often lost in this pragmatic age: how much of Diderot's or any major author's message depends on a deeply literary culture. A work to be enjoyed on many levels, this book should be on every Enlightenment lover's bookshelf." Wilda Anderson, Professor of French, The John Hopkins University, USA

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